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They're virtually indistinguishable on the issues and have plenty in common outside politics, this pair of suburban conservative 40-something males who even share the same first name.

It's Dave vs. Dave in the GOP primary in late June for the District 42 seat in the state House of Representatives.First-term incumbent David Bresnahan finds himself in an unexpected primary this month with newcomer David Thompson in the contest to decide which West Jordan resident will represent the party in November.

Beyond the fundamentals, the race is a question of style: Bresnahan, the insurance man and in-your-face former talk-radio host, against Thompson, the mild-mannered mortgage-loan officer.

Bresnahan has already made a big name for himself in just two years at the Capitol, jumping out in front on controversial issues ranging from gun control and abortion to gay rights.

His high-profile mode of operation has attracted accolades but offended onlookers too.

"I agree with a lot of his agenda," concedes Thompson. "I'm for tax decreases, I'm for greater spending accountability, I'm pro-life."

Where, then, is the problem? "He's stepped on a lot of toes in the Legislature," says Thompson, arguing that the proper demeanor for a freshman solon is not exactly what Bresnahan's shown. The incumbent's behavior, argues Thompson, has thwarted his effectiveness.

"Too many times he's set his feet in concrete and said my way is the way . . . but in reality the way to effective representation is through consensus. I don't know of many laws passed by one vote."

Bresnahan, says Thompson, is too talk-radioesque, more intent on plugging his cause than in crafting compromise.

To which Bresnahan responds: "Well, I'm not afraid to call a spade a spade. I've been willing to take on some real controversial issues others wouldn't touch."

Bresnahan saw his notoriety soar earlier this year when he led a legislative charge to outlaw gay student clubs at high schools in Utah. The push was successful, though it faces court challenges now.

Thompson said he opposes such organizations in schools but would've left it all up to local boards instead of meddling from the Hill.

Perhaps Bresnahan got his biggest headlines when he said publicly that his deceased younger brother had died of AIDS after being "recruited" into homosexuality by a gang of gay Boy Scouts. The anecdote, said Bresnahan, proved his point that homosexuality is taught, not genetically predetermined.

"I got beat up severely by the gay community and I felt very alone at the time . . . but the response from people since then has been very approving."

And Bresnahan says his reputation as a firebrand is rooted in exaggeration that has overlooked his political warmth. A handful of fellow lawmakers have endorsed him, he says, and some have even nominated him for a national lawmaker-of-the-year award.

Still, the incumbent has drawn the ire of his own ilk. During GOP caucuses earlier this year, Bresnahan managed to get endorsements from only 56 percent of voting delegates, a margin close enough to force the primary with Thompson.

He seems confident, though, that rank-and-file voters will give him better support.

"It'll be a big win," predicted Bresnahan.

Not so quick, counters Thompson, who said he hopes his low-key persona will carry the day, even if he is the dark horse.

"I'm nothing fancy, I'm not a big shot, I'm just Joe working guy," said Thompson, maintaining that's what voters want in a part-time citizen legislator.